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The Postman Poet

Author(s): Liz Shakespeare

Location(s): Devon

Genre(s): Historical, Fiction

Era(s): 19th century

As a young boy, Edward Capern is desperate to read and write, but has to work an eighty-hour week in Barnstaple’s lace factory. As a man, he dreams of writing poetry and building a fairer society, but these aspirations cannot put food on the table. He fears he will never be able to marry Jane, the woman he loves, and it is her skill as a milliner that eventually provides enough for them to set up a simple home together in Bideford. Edward’s fortunes change when he finds employment as a postman. As he walks the Devon lanes, he begins to write poems and songs that express his delight in the countryside and the people he meets, but neither he nor Jane can foresee the profound impact his poetry will have on their lives. Liz Shakespeare’s novel draws on historical research and Capern’s own writing to tell the story of Bideford’s Postman Poet from obscurity to national renown, capturing the opportunities and inequalities of the Victorian age.

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition! Entries close 6th November

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media